Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller, Matt Drudge, and Fox News' Sean Hannity are all promoting a "bombshell video" of President Obama giving a speech on race issues in 2007 and are suggesting it could impact the presidential election. But Carlson, Drudge, and Fox News, among many other outlets, all reported on the same speech more than five years ago, and the portions of the speech not previously released add little to the debate.
At the time, conservative media critics praised mainstream media outlets for covering the speech. But Sean Hannity, Carlson, and Drudge now claim that the media deliberately ignored key segments of the speech.
Apparently they were either among the participating in the supposed cover-up, or were too incompetent to report on the speech at the time with the detail they now claim it deserved. Indeed, during an appearance on Hannity tonight, Carlson repeatedly acknowledged that he had previously reported on the speech back in 2007.
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a "quiet riot" among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago.
The first-term Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.
"This administration was colorblind in its incompetence," Obama said at a conference of black clergy. "But the poverty and the hopelessness was there long before the hurricane.
In claiming the media hid important details about the speech, Carlson and Hannity focused on issues such as Obama's praise for Rev. Jeremiah Wright (a fact included in the AP report on the speech) and Obama's alleged adoption of a southern accent.
Carlson's Daily Caller website posted the full video this evening, claiming: "Obama gave the speech in the middle of a hotly-contested presidential primary season, but his remarks escaped scrutiny. Reporters in the room seem to have missed or ignored his most controversial statements."
Carlson previously covered the speech more than five years ago, on the evening it was delivered. At the time he found it worthy of only the third segment of the MSNBC program he hosted at the time, Tucker.
During that segment, Carlson falsely suggested that Obama had used the speech to "justify" the riots that followed the Rodney King riot. In fact, as Media Matters documented at the time, Obama said during the speech that such violence was "inexcusable and self-defeating."
While he harshly criticized the speech on the night it was delivered, Carlson did not return to Obama's comments in subsequent editions of his program.
From the June 5, 2007, edition of MSNBC's Tucker (via Nexis):
CARLSON: Barack Obama was talking about a quiet riot today. And no, it was not a reference to a 1980s heavy metal band, unfortunately. The senator waded into the controversial waters of race during a speech Hampton University in Virginia. He said the Bush administration has done little to quell a brewing storm among some black Americans. He compared the current tension to what fueled the L.A. riots in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.
OBAMA (video clip): These quiet riots that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires of destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and death. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. The stare takes hold in young people all across the country; look at the way the world is and they believe that things are never going to get better.
CARLSON: This is not the first time Obama has sounded such an alarm, but will this kind of rhetoric help or hurt his chances to become president?
CARLSON: Hillary, it seems to me that when people burn down stores, kill because they`re Korean, or beat people in the head with cinder blocks because of their race, like Reginald Denny, that`s not a political statement. That`s just crime. And Barack Obama seems to me to be giving a political justification to totally unacceptable, never justifiable behavior. And I think it`s pretty outrageous.
And here's Drudge reporting on the speech in June 2007:
The website for Fox News' Hannity reports of this evening's edition, which featured the video, "It's a bombshell video that you will only see tonight on 'Hannity,' and it's one that could dramatically impact the race for the White House."
Fox News' Special Report covered the "quiet riot" speech the evening it was delivered in 2007, in a segment more than halfway through the program (via Nexis):
BRIT HUME (host): In the meantime, Senator Obama today said the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse what he calls a quiet riot among black Americans, a riot he suggests is ready to erupt. Obama said African American resentments and frustrations are building, especially, he said, because so many blacks from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still displaced 21 months after Hurricane Katrina.
Obama warned against conditions similar to those in Los Angeles 15 years ago.
OBAMA (video clip): Not only do we still have the scars of the riots and the quiet riots that happen every day, but how in too many places all across the country, we haven't even bothered to take the bullet out.
HUME: Obama was speaking at a conference of black clergy at Virginia's Hampton University.
Special Report returned to the speech in a 2008 segment on Obama's speech disavowing the controversial comments of Rev. Jeremiah Wright (via Nexis):
MAJOR GARRETT (correspondent): Here's how Obama described Wright in the speech last June at the historically black Hampton University in Virginia --
OBAMA: The guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He's a friend and a great leader.